Collector hurt, asst killed on way to condolence meet

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District collector Ms Pooja Kulkarni had a miraculous escape with some bleeding injuries but her duffedar Muniraj died on the spot when their SUV crashed into a stationary bus at Kattu Anjaneya temple near here Saturday afternoon, police said.

Rural development minister K.P. Munusamy, who happened to be at Krishna­giri, rushed the injured collector, her personal clerk Jai Shankar and driver Sivanandam, to Sparsh Hospital at Bengaluru. He also informed chief minister Ms Jayalalithaa about the tragedy, after which she announced a solatium of `1 lakh to the family of duffedar Muniraj.

According to police, the collector and her staff were proceeding in their Qualis van to Bommidi in Dharmapuri to attend the funeral of the father of Krishnagiri DRO, Pragasam. The van was nearing the Kattu Anjaneya temple on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway at Krishnagiri when another vehicle with Andhra Pradesh registration overtook the van at high speed. Driver Sivanandam lost control of his Qualis and he rammed the van on a TNSTC bus standing at a bus stop near the Kattu Anjaneya temple.

Duffedar Muniraj, seated at the front corner, was crushed in the nasty impact and died on the spot. Driver Sivanandam and collector's PC Jai Shankar seated next to him received minor injuries. Collector Ms Pooja Kulkarni, seated in the back, received bleeding injuries on her face and was admitted in the ICU of Sparsh. "The first scan showed small bleed in her brain, besides two minor fractures of the nasal bone and a broken tooth. She is on intensive treatment at the ICU. A scan later in the night showed that the brain bleed is nothing serious. The collector is progressing well", said Dr Sharanu Patil, medical director, Sparsh.

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